I went to a wedding over the summer and the groom told me he reads UmpBump. Then he asked me, “so why do you hate Ryan Howard?” I explained to him that I don’t hate Howard. I hate his contract. It’s too big and too long and he was absolutely not worth it.

Frankly, I’m not sure it’s ever a good idea to sign a player not named Albert Pujols to a $100 million contract. There are more $100 million horror stories than happy endings, that’s for sure.

But I’ll tell you one guy who is a lot more valuable than Howard: Jayson Werth. And today the Phillies watched Werth sign with the Nationals.

Should the Phillies have shelled out the big bucks to keep Werth? Maybe. But I understand their unwillingness to do so. The road to last place is paved with expensive, lengthy contracts.

Then again, if they were going to spend $100 million on a player, I wish it would have been Werth. Because signing Jayson Werth to a $100 million contract is a lot less crazy than signing Howard to a $100 million contract.

Over the last three seasons, Werth has been worth 15.1 wins above replacement. Howard has been worth 9.9. Werth plays a more demanding position, and he plays it well. Howard plays the least demanding position, and plays it poorly. And Howard is likely to decline faster than Werth, since he’s a big dude.

I don’t hate Ryan Howard. Really. I think he’s great. But the day the Phillies signed him to that contract extension was the beginning of the end. Today, it cost the Phillies Jayson Werth. Who’s next?

7 Responses to “Jayson Werth’s contract not nearly as bad as Ryan Howard’s deal”

  1. You’re not crazy – I totally agree.

    For fun you should check the top 35 pitchers by WAR on fangraphs:


    This will show you that the Phils have been fairly poor at retaining the correct talent for years.

    I’ve felt ever since they let Polonco and Abreu go for nothing, they’ve made a lot of bad moves. Werth was great because we got him off the scrap heap. The Phils haven’t made a solid scrap heap acquisition in a while.

    • Victorino was a solid scrap heap acquisition. In fact, pulling Victorino and Werth out of thin air was what helped the Phils make the jump to a playoff caliber team. But now Werth is gone and we’ll just have to wait and see if Domonic Brown has what it takes.

      • Nick Kapur says:

        Fun fact: The Dodgers had Jayson Werth under team control in the winter of 2006, and decided not to tender him a contract, making him an unrestricted free agent. Just one of Ned Colletti’s many bone-headed moves.

  2. action jackson says:

    To me, the closest statistical comparison to Ryan Howard is Adam Dunn. They’re both 31, have comparable OPS, and while Howard has hit a few more home runs per plate appearance Dunn has a higher OBP. Yet while Howard gets a long-term deal (and >50% more in annual salary), everybody seems to hate on Dunn.

    • Is it perhaps Dunn is best suited as a DH, his iron hands and general lack of mobility don’t seem to play well anywhere on the field.

      • action jackson says:

        Eh, if Dunn has iron hands, then Howard’s are made of stone. I don’t know who sucks at defense more, but it’s certainly not possible to argue that Howard is more valuable than anyone because of his defense.

    • Yep – no argument here. The lesson, when you get a nickname, don’t let it be “The Donkey” it will impact future earnings.

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